The NBA offseason hit the ground running when the Los Angeles Lakers reportedly traded for Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans earlier this month, but that was just the start as the 2019 free-agent frenzy is set to begin this Sunday.
The star-studded class consisting of Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson, Kemba Walker and Jimmy Butler has been closely monitored all season long. On Monday, the rumor mill was again swirling, particularly relating to Durant, Leonard and Irving.
According to Bleacher Report's Ric Bucher, Durant and Irving have "met twice" to discuss teaming up together—once when Durant was sidelined with a calf strain during the NBA Playoffs and a second time after he had surgery on his torn Achilles. While a league source tells Bucher that Durant "is going to change his mind at least 25 times until he does it," Irving is trying to persuade Durant to head to the Brooklyn Nets, rather than the New York Knicks.
Durant has several connections to the Knicks, but one of those is free agent DeAndre Jordan, whom the Nets are reportedly pursuing in an attempt to lure Durant to Brooklyn, per Marc Stein of the New York Times:
Another option Durant has is to opt back in with the Golden State Warriors for $31.5 million next season, but he is not happy with the team, league sources told Bucher. Durant is believed to be upset with the role the Warriors officials played in their decision to allow him to suit up for Game 5 of the NBA Finals when he tore his Achilles, and a league executive told Bucher that Durant is "really pissed off at the Warriors."
As for Leonard, there does not seem to be a whole lot of clarity on where he may end up, but he reportedly will meet with at least two teams.
Per Frank Isola of The Athletic, Leonard will meet with the Los Angeles Clippers, the presumptive favorite to sign the NBA Finals MVP, on July 2, while Chris Sheridan of Sheridan Hoops reported that the Dallas Mavericks expect to meet with Leonard, too:
They are not the only teams in the running for Leonard. According to Bucher, one Eastern Conference vice president believes the Toronto Raptors still have a "fighting chance," while a Western Conference VP said the Los Angeles Lakers "think they have a strong shot." The Lakers would need to wait until late July to make the deal official, though, in order to create the cap space to sign Leonard to a max contract.
The Knicks also believe they will get a chance to sell Leonard on coming to New York and teaming up with Durant, if they manage to sign Durant, according to Bucher.